Space-saving hacks for your tiny kitchen

Check out most internet advice on space-saving hacks for your tiny kitchen, and you'll find suggestions that include remodeling or other steps that just aren't feasible if you're renting, or if you don't have an infinite budget (and who does?). These tips and tricks are different. Not only will they give you more space in the kitchen, but they're things you can do with a modest monetary investment at most, a bit of elbow grease, and a pinch of DIY know-how. Some don't even require that much, so let's talk tiny kitchens.

Get an over-the-sink cutting board

It can sometimes be impossible to find work space on your already over-stuffed counters. So what if you could make a new work space… on your sink? An over-the-sink cutting board is a nifty kitchen gadget that's basically an extra-long cutting board that rests on either side of your sink, and some even have a hole for sweeping trimmings into the sink and garbage disposal. According to The Kitchn's legwork, there are a ton of options out there and you're bound to find one that fits your sink — just measure twice and buy once, from Amazon or your favorite home store.

Get a magnetic spice rack

Magnetic spice racks are so neat you might find yourself using one no matter how much space you have. Check out Gneiss Spice for some ideas if you're looking for something ready-to-buy, or you can make your own. Start by getting some food-safe, airtight tins, and you can really make any tin work with the help of a strip of magnets. Mount a metal board (or individual, coaster-sized mounts) onto the front of your cupboards or on your refrigerator. You'll make use of some space you'd probably not thought to utilize, and all your spices will stay organized and easy to grab. No more hunting! If tins aren't big enough, you can also opt to go the route of small jars. You might not be able to mount those on the front of cupboards, but if you add the magnetic mount to the underside of your cabinets, you'll be able to hang them there. Brilliant, right?

Check out your options for installing cabinet shelves

Take a peek inside your kitchen cabinets and cupboards (it's OK, we'll wait). If yours are like most, you probably have a ton of open space, where there's not quite enough room to stack some things on top of each other. If that's the case, you definitely need to check out your options for cabinet shelves. Amazon or any home store — like Bed Bath and Beyond — will have all the choices you need.  

There are a ton, and it's pretty much a guarantee you'll find what you're looking for even if it takes some searching. Take a look at lid and plate organizers — they look like they're meant for file folders, and they'll clean up a pretty shocking amount of room in your lower cabinets. Wire racks come in different sizes and can be slid onto any shelf, increasing your useable space and making it easier to see what's buried in the back of your cupboards. Most just slide in place, too, with no hardcore installation required. Win! It'll keep those canned goods from cascading, too, because we'll be honest here — keeping a small kitchen organized is half the problem.

Pick up a magnetic knife rack

Here's another small purchase that can make a big difference, especially if you have a giant knife block taking up valuable counter real estate. Pick up a magnetic knife rack, and if you've never considered one, you should. They're simple magnetic strips that keep your knives organized, with a couple other advantages. Since you can see the blade, there will be no more hunting and no more dulling a blade by pulling it out of the block. Best of all, you can mount them anywhere. If you have some empty wall space behind your sink or over your stove, those are great options. But every kitchen is different, and we're sure you have the perfect bit of wall space somewhere. 

Re-organize your cutlery

We're not even going to get into that junk drawer we all have, no matter how big or how small a kitchen is. But take a look at your cutlery drawers, and let's talk about what you can do here to consolidate. If you're like many, you probably have a cutlery tray that keeps all your utensils at least semi-organized. There are better options, and they involve making complete use of the full depth of your drawers.

Core 77 took a look at just how creative people are getting with their cutlery drawers, and there's some serious, space-saving brilliance going on. The right drawer organizer can even help you consolidate two drawers into one, especially if you have deeper drawers. Consider getting a two-tiered tray, and organizing it so the things you use every once in a great while are on the bottom. It might just inspire you to take a crack at fixing that junk drawer, too.

Get rid of that coffee maker

Hold on! We're definitely not saying coffee is expendable, because we all know that's not the case. But if you're a coffee drinker, you undoubtedly have a machine sitting on your counter taking up a decent footprint of your already limited counter space. Pitch it, and pick up a smaller, sleeker, and cooler conversation piece to up your coffee game.

One option is the Chemex, which is basically a beautifully shaped carafe that acts as the pot and the filtration system in one, and let's be honest — it looks pretty awesome, too. They come in all different sizes, so choose one that suits your coffee needs and your space. Another mini-maker option is the Aeropress, which not only makes great coffee, but it takes less than a minute! Cleanup is super easy, and it's small enough to sit on a windowsill. Lastly, we can wholeheartedly recommend switching to a French press. Not only is it a staple for making coffee in Europe, but you can pick up different sizes, cleanup is easy, and it's easy to mix-and-match for your perfect blend. You won't miss your drip coffee, even first thing in the morning.

Rethink your dish drying racks

Dish drying racks seem like one of those things that have remained fairly unchanged since somewhere around the 17th century, but you need to check out some modern designs that don't just look cool, but will save you some space. Home DIT looked at some of their favorites, and that includes racks made in different shapes and sizes that can take complete advantage of unused kitchen space. There are some that fit in that annoying space behind your sink, and two-tiered racks that make the most of vertical space.

If you want to get awesomely creative, there are even racks that are half rack, half herb garden — like this one from Design Libero. They use the water that drips off your drying dishes to water your plants, so if you've ever regretted the fact that your kitchen is too small for an herb garden, regret no more.

Check your walls for storage solutions

Making the most of your tiny kitchen is all about maximizing space, and that goes for wall space, too. Refinery 29 found out just how versatile — and invaluable — pegboard, a can of spray paint, and some hooks can be in allowing you to use your wall space. Cut the pegboard as large or as small as you need it, and while you can use a large piece to hang pots, pans, and other cooking utensils on a wall that would otherwise be wasted, you can use smaller ones, too. If you have a patch of bare wall alongside your stove, cut slender pieces of pegboard, mount them, and use them for your favorite ladles, spoons, and spatulas. Is there a tiny section of wall near the window? Hang your measuring cups there. A tall but narrow strip of wall by the fridge? Use that to mount a column of pots for that herb garden you've always wanted but never had room for.

You can use the same idea to make the most of the ends of cupboards, too, and turn them into the perfect place to hang everything from extra hand towels to more specialty equipment you might not need every day.

Open those unopenable drawers

If you're already hurting for space, there's nothing more annoying than those under-sink drawers that don't open. They're pretty much just taunting you with the potential for more space, and Domestically Speaking has an awesome tutorial on how you can get those little drawers open, and make them useful.

With the help of a few basic items from your local DIY store, you can take off the front panels, install a set of hinges, and add a hanging basket on the back of that little drawer. Your new tip-out drawer is the perfect place to store things like sponges and scouring pads, along with all those specialty tools for cleaning things like water bottles. They're also a bit of safe storage if you like to take rings, watches, and other jewelry off when you cook, and you can't get much more practical than that!

Hang a pot rack from the ceiling

Using some of that ceiling space is completely legitimate, too, and installing a pot rack can be a great way to free up counter and cupboard space. Like many of our favorite kitchen gadgets, there are a ton of different options out there and you'll have to do some searching before you find the one that works for your tiny kitchen, but once you do, you'll wonder how you ever got away without it.

Better Homes and Gardens took a look at a bunch of them, and they agree they're great for storing pots and pans. But get one that includes a hanging shelf, and you can stash other things up there, too. Get those baking tins you only use once in a while out of the way, put your dehydrator up and out of your hair, and fun gadgets like a bamboo steamer can go up and out of the way, too. Increase your storage even more by adding a few hanging baskets where the pots would normally go, and you've got even more hiding space.

Get creative with wine storage

If you like to have a few bottles of wine on hand for a special occasion (or, let's face it, just a rough day), you know how much room they can take up. Getting a wine rack that will work with the space you have is key, and one option is to invest in a single-column wine rack, like this one from Wine Racks America. If you have a tall, narrow space, a wine rack might be the perfect way to make use of it.

Alternately, you can just get that wine out of the kitchen entirely. Apartment Therapy tracked down some awesome wine racks that will look great on a coffee table, over a mantle, or sitting in the middle of a dining room table. Some are so cool they're bound to become conversation pieces, and that'll make you wonder why you didn't think of getting your wine out of the kitchen sooner.

Integrated or push handles for your cupboards

Here's another thing you may have never considered doing, but trust us when we say it's going to make a big difference. Take a look at the handles are on all your drawers and cabinets, and if you can swap them out, do so. Architectural Digest says there are plenty of options for integrated or push handles that you can install pretty easily — that means no more cracking your hip on a drawer pull, no more catching your sleeve on a cabinet handle, and no more slamming doors when you accidentally snag and open them as you're walking by. Part of making the most of your tiny kitchen is making it feel less tiny, and this simple hack — which will take less than the better part of an afternoon — will help you do exactly that. Plus, it's super stylish!